Behind the Egg-and-Shoe-Throwing Incident—Why Do Chinese Netizens Hate Dr. Fang Binxing?

A summary from AFP:

Internet users in China are hailing a student who claims to have thrown a shoe at the architect of the country’s so-called “Great Firewall” of Internet controls during a university appearance.

Police in central China on Friday refused to comment on the alleged attack on Fang Binxing at Wuhan University by a student who identified himself online only as “hanunyi”.

But the student has been hailed by web users — posts that were later deleted by authorities under the very system that Fang designed to snuff out information or comment that the government considers a threat to its authority.

“He is the enemy of all netizens who are forced to scale the wall all day long,” said one typical comment, later deleted by web monitors.

One of the students who pelted Fang Binxing with eggs and a shoe at Wuhan University on May 23. ( )

Tens of thousands of tweets and micro-blog posts were cheering the “Shoe Incident.”  Many have been removed from Chinese cyberspace.

Here are some samples translated by China Digital Times:


Principal Fang questioned [the host]: Before the lecture, there were already discussions on Twitter about the protest, why did not you take any precautionary measures?

Wuhan University host: We could not open that website, so we did not know what they were talking about.

* 方滨兴,你忘屏敝鞋了!‎

Fang Binxing, you have forgotten to block my shoe!

An empty lectern buried in shoes, posted by the Southern Daily Group comic artist Kuang Biao to his blog (


Principal Fang, next time will be a high heel!!

* “鸡蛋诚可贵,拖鞋价更高。若为滨兴故,二者皆可抛”

‘Egg is dear, shoes are dearer. Both can be given up for Binxing.’ [Reference to a poem by Petőfi Sándor, Hungarian poet and revolutionary: “Life is dear,
love is dearer. Both can be given up for freedom.”]

Here are few more:


Makes me happy, I found out too late, or I would’ve joined.


Support! Man and Gods alike are angry at the father of the GFW


Fang Binxing, known as the Father of the Great Firewall. (AP)

“He’s a scientist, but willingly became a tool for politicians. He took away the rights of the masses in exchange for the interests of a few people. If there was a lamentable person, Fang Binxing would be one. That’s why netizens who know what’s going on are full of hate and disgust for him.

Why do people hate Fang Binxing?

We spoke over the phone with online publisher Mr. Li Hongkuan, chief editor and founder of VIP Reference (Dacankao). Here is what he told us.

I think most students are frustrated, when we try to visit a website that website has been banned or failed due to the “Great Firewall of China”, and that happens all the time in our life. They got fed up and need someone to blame.

Mr. Fang…is the person that has been responsible for building up this “Firewall” and somehow [the news about his visit] was widely spread. So a lot of young people knew that he was the chief architect of this “Great Firewall”, so they turn to blame him.

… A lot of websites are banned. And certainly a lot of people hate that.

What does this shoe stand for?

The young people – they are getting bolder and bolder. If they are angry, they express it. The older generation, among ourselves, even if we know that the Chinese Communist Party…restricts our freedom, we are afraid to express it. We don’t want to say, even though we don’t like the way the Communist [Party] treated us.

Right now, the younger generation is getting even more courageous in speaking their opinions.  They threw a shoe at this person as an expression of anger. I think that’s a bold expression.  The older generation usually would not do it. The younger generation is more liberated… I will not be surprised if similar things will happen more and more openly in the future.

The real meaning of this “shoe incident” is that the Chinese people, like all the other people in the world, regard freedom as a basic human right and everybody wants it.


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